Cloud Accounting Small Business

Hubdoc Review

Written by Greg Lam

I’m currently doing a series of reviews on document/receipt/expense management software. I can’t even pin it down to one category as there’s a lot of crossover.

Today the review will be on Hubdoc, which I’ll categorize as being software that’s designed to collect all the documents you need to do a reconciliation. Honestly, what it does is right in it’s name — it’s a hub for your docs.

Fetching Documents

The ability of Hubdocs to fetch documents — especially bank statements — is its standout feature. It’s so fetch! For those of you with youngins, that’s a cool word, right? But for real, Hubdoc uses its own customized scraper to pull in docs from banks, to utilities, to telecommunications. Since they can build custom scrapes in house, you can request new online services for Hubdoc to link up to (although I don’t know how long a request would take to fulfill).

As a bookkeeper, the most invaluable tool is the bank statements, because not only does it pull in the PDF file, but it’ll also bring in the CSV file. This means that I can use the PDF to verify a bank reconciliation and the CSV file in the event that the bank feed breaks in my accounting software.

Beyond pulling documents in, Hubdoc can also receive documents via email, web upload, or smartphone app. Essentially, it has all the document input bases covered. Whether you’re throwing an HTML, PNG, or PDF document at it, Hubdoc can handle it.

What happens once the documents are in Hubdoc? Let’s go to the next section and see.

Extracting Data and Categorizing

One you have your documents in Hubdoc it’ll look like this:

Hubdoc

Your folders are on the left, your file names are in the middle, and the previews are on the right. There’s actually an edit window that’ll pop up on the right if you click on the edit icon, and it looks like this:

Receipt

The views you have of files are:

  • All: All your docs
  • Processing: Data extraction is still being performed
  • Review: The docs are ready for you to look at
  • Failed: The data extraction failed
  • Archive: You’ve archived the doc

The default view is All, and this doesn’t sit right with me. It kind of feels like my job is never done as I’m looking at this fire hose of information. The docs that are of interest to me are found in Review and Failed. These docs need my attention.

If you want to review a doc and see all the information that was extracted, you need to click on the edit icon and you’ll see this form view.

Publish & Proceed

You see all those fields. That’s a lot to fill out. Usually Hubdoc can get the Vendor, Date, and Amount correct. Even with that information filled out by Hubdoc, I still have to fill out the following fields in order to publish the doc to my accounting software (in this case it’s Xero):

  • Tax Rate (because I’m dealing with a Canadian company — this wouldn’t be a concern to those in the U.S.)
  • Publish As
  • Status/Account Code (this field changes based on what you publish the document as)
  • Contact
  • Bank Account

Those are six things to choose, whereas if I used a bank feed in my accounting software to categorize, I may only have to choose two or three of these things (Contact, Tax Rate, Account Code).

Part of my reason for disliking all the fields is that they are quite tedious to fill out. What do I mean? Fields act more like a drop-down box rather than an omni box. What’s the difference you ask? Well, with a drop-down box, you have to choose from hundreds of contacts, which means lots of scrolling. You can type in letters to narrow it down, but you can’t see what you’re typing, so it’s a bit confusing. With an omni box, you can start typing in the box itself and it’ll narrow down your choices while still allowing you to see what you typed. Omni boxes are much easier to use and if you look at QuickBooks Online or Xero, this is how most, if not all, of their fields work.


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About the author

Greg Lam

Greg Lam is a passionate small business guy who loves technology and automation. He holds a BBA from Simon Fraser University, Canada. He's a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Xero Partner, and Kashoo MVP. His business interests are focused on online accounting and how it can be used to streamline and automate a company’s accounting processes. He currently lives in Tokyo, Japan.

Greg operates the Small Biz Doer website, an "Entrepreneur's Guide to Small Biz Bookkeeping." He is the author of Online Accounting Software: Finding the Right Match, published by The Sleeter Group.

Connect with Greg on Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

11 Comments

    • That’s probably due to the fact that I changed the tax code to accommodate some local tax rules. Normally Hubdoc will extract the proper numbers from the receipt.

  • Should check out Hubdoc’s latest release. It addresses some of the issues highlighted in this review: more control over taxes extracted, ability to split invoices and enter inventory details, improved search in input cells such as vendors… did I miss anything?

      • Good point Greg! We are definitely are trying to get better all the time :). Really appreciate the work you’re doing “sorting clouds” too. Part of our go-to reading list

  • Love your review, but a few quibbles:

    “If you’re looking for an easy way to collect documents from clients, then yeah, Hubdoc is a great way to go.”

    I’m willing to judge it on this part alone. Is there anything out there better for automatically downloading statements? You’ve used it for 2 years, so I’m guessing not?

    “But if you’re looking for a solution that can push documents to your accounting software, there is other software that currently does this better.”

    Fair enough, but:
    1. Do they download statements automatically, because if not, it’s a bit of apples vs oranges, isn’t it?
    2. What other software. Adding that type of statement as the closing line with no elaboration just frustrates your readers :-).

    Thanks

    • Hey Dave. I’m not aware of any other software doing the fetching part. As far as extracting data and pushing transactions to Xero or QBO, they are a couple options: Receipt Bank is the one I have used in the past and it’s great, though with Hubdoc’s latest releases, there may not be much signifocant difference anymore.

    • Hi David, I understand what you’re saying. For fetching statements, I don’t know of any software that does it, although there could be. The the thing is, not everyone needs or wants their documents fetched. Like Fabien mentions, there is Receipt Bank that does a great job of pushing documents to your accounting software. It doesn’t fetch documents, but it does a good job of extracting data from digital documents.

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